DIY Necktie Art
As I sit and write this I am looking out over a calm, gently lapping lake. The breeze is cool and the air is filled with what seems like a hundred different songs. Its morning and the birds are busy. This peaceful setting is a gift from one of my precious friends. She let me tag along on a weekend getaway to her lake house. I feel so spoiled.
The scene is reminiscent of the view from my late grandmother’s front porch in North Carolina. Her home is on the Outer Banks. While her house isn’t directly on the water it is across the street. From her porch you have a view of the inlet. For me, her porch is the most peaceful place on Earth. I can get lost there. When you are looking out onto the water at Granny’s you have to look past a cemetery. That’s right. She lives directly across the street from a small cemetery that rests on the water’s edge. When I was a little girl it scared me. As I laid in bed, in the quiet, images of ghosts and goblins dancing around across the street filled my head. Honestly – kids don’t typically spend a lot of time in graveyards. I didn’t know what to think.
Over the years I grew to be fascinated by cemeteries. Whenever we would go to North Carolina I would always ease my way across the street to wander through the headstones. Some of them belong to my people. Decades of stories lying just beneath the surface. My grandparents are buried in another cemetery down the street and I have even more family in another place close by. There is something special to me about being surrounded by that depth of family history. To be in your people’s place. Laced all through the cemeteries are Aunts, Uncles, cousins and distant relatives. I never even knew most of them, but they are part of me. Generations of my kin. I think it is one of the reasons I love my Granny’s place so much. I feel like I belong and am part of the little world that lives there.
Traipsing through graveyards has kind of become a thing for me. It can engross you when you are among family, but I am just as enamored with strangers. Old headstones are like beautiful works of art. Statues and monuments are always a part of the mix. The things people write on the memorials of loved ones are heart wrenching. How they choose to honor those they adore, a privilege to witness. For years now I’ve been focused on the one word headings so many people have adorning their tombstone. Did they pick that word themselves, or did their loved ones after they passed? You always hear about exercises and prompts involving writing your obituary to reflect in present time what your life would say about you. Some exercises ask you to predict what your obit will say at the end of your life. It would be a tell all of clubs, awards, work history, church history, all your achievements and family members in a few paragraphs. But what would your one word description be?
The most frequent monikers I see are: wife, husband, mother, father, son, daughter, baby, beloved.
I’m taken aback by these one word summations. Am I such a strong, loving caretaker of my husband that he or anyone else would look at my life and say “wife”? That’s the number one thing Kim was. Or would my children overwhelmingly choose to see me as a mother above all else?
These words are lovely, but they seem a little limited. I am a wife and I hope I am a great one. Certainly I am a mother, times three. But I have been thinking and wrestling with what one word would encompass all I am and really all I hope to be this side of Heaven. It’s tough!
The one word description I have landed on is servant. If I’m being a loving wife and mother, then I am serving my family. If I am loving the Lord, myself and my neighbor…I’m being a servant. This word stems straight from Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.
So when I die who knows what my obituary will say. God is more creative than I can pretend to be about my future. But I hope I have the cheapest (seriously – I’m cheap and nobody’s gonna see it once it’s gone) pine box around and a white marble (cause you know I love some white marble) headstone labeled SERVANT.
Until then I though it would be a good idea to have that word in plain sight daily to remind me of who I desire to be. Heaven knows once it is written in stone it’s to late to inspire me! I know just the place this little frame will go. Every morning I get up and my goal is to start the day in prayer and the word. Doesn’t always happen. Then I get dressed. Which doesn’t really always happen either. But these are goals we’re talking about. This word is going in my bathroom so I can meditate on it as I ready myself for the day to come. I’m hopeful it will help me keep my heart in the right posture to those around me.
If you would like to join me in living out your one word here are the how tos of my DIY one word picture:
I started off with some men’s ties I bought at a thrift store for a completely different project. You could use any fabric you want, but I tend to be draw to more masculine and bold type patterns. Next I got a dress shirt of my son’s that was so stained it held no more hope as usable clothing. The frame I used was from the Dollar Store and it cost, well…$1. You will need similar suppies plus Heat N Bond or Wonder Under, paint for the frame if it needs painting, fabric glue, scissors and an iron. You will also need to have your favorite font teed up on your computer.
Pick a word…this is such and easy project and would be precious with a boy’s name for a nursery or bedroom. You will need to print out your chosen word in your chosen font in REVERSE. SUPER Important part here. Most programs have a reverse or mirror image option. Lay your reverse printed letters under your bonding material and trace. Next you will need to cut pieces of tie big enough to accept each letter.
Now iron your little tie scraps smooth. Next apply and iron your traced letters to the tie pieces.
Cut your background fabric to fit a cardboard backing the size of your picture frame. Like I said, I used a dress shirt for an unexpected chambray backing. You will need to iron it smooth. Next wrap the cardboard piece neatly and fabric glue the shirt corners to hold.
Finally line up your word…straight and centered, then iron on! Presto, you have one of a kind art from beautiful ties you probably have hiding in your house somewhere right now!
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